$31m in grants announced to boost outcomes for young children with additional needs
The Federal Government will direct a total of $31 million in funding to children with newly identified disabilities or emerging developmental concerns under two separate grants.
The National Early Childhood Program (NECP) will receive $16 million while an additional $15 million will be obtained under the Information Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) program.
NECP has a focus on family friendly activities
Designed to increase individual children’s readiness for educational environments, and to provide opportunities for children with disabilities or developmental concerns to socialise with peers and siblings in supporters and family-centred environments, the funding will be allocated through two competitive grant rounds.
Examples of the types of activities which the grants expect to fund include (but are not limited to):
- Supported playgroups
- Facilitated group experiences such as story time or imaginative play
- Facilitated art, music and movement activities.
A minimum of 50 per cent of the children to be supported through the NECP program will be on the Autism spectrum, and First Nations children will also be supported through the ILC stream.
“Around 600 stakeholders including parents, carers and peak bodies were consulted in the design of the NECP to make sure it truly reflects the needs and experiences of families,” said Federal Minister for Social Services Amanda Rishworth.
Up to $6.9 million in funding will be available from the competitive grant rounds under the NECP over three years to 2024-25.
“One round will focus on assisting children and the other will assist the parents and carers who support them to help build their capacity to support their child’s development,” Ms Rishworth explained.
Applications for the NECP grants are now open, with eligible providers encouraged to apply.
ILC will boost First Nations communities
Under the ILC stream funding of up to $15 million over four years to 2025-26 will be offered for outreach to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, under the ILC’s Individual Capacity Building program.
Breaking down barriers to accessing supports and services for First Nations children with disability or developmental concerns is a priority for the Federal Government, Minister for the NDIS and Government Services Bill Shorten explained.
“The funding available under the ILC program will help ensure there are services specifically targeted for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, that are culturally sensitive and readily accessible,” he added.
“The activities funded will also assist in meeting Outcome 4 of the Closing the Gap National Agreement, which focuses on helping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children thrive in their early years.”
As part of the grant rounds a further $2.2 million to 2024-25 will enable the Raising Children Network to improve online resources and information for families and carers.
Grants for the ILC stream will open in 2023.
More information about both grants is available here.
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